Northfield Council met in a work session to talk about their 2018 budget. Administrator Ben Martig explained what some of the services are the City provides public works (streets, etc), police, library, building inspections, a number of utilities and the municipal liquor store. Funding all of those services and debt the City accrues for projects, comes to about $27 million a year. Northfield completed an employee compensation study this year which found the City wasn’t comparable. Martig commented that it will drive their budget for years but they’ve already seen better recruitment as witnessed by Police Chief Nelson. The City is looking at a 7.1% change in expenses just in labor costs. Other
expenditures include debt service, “which is a big one like on our streets, those are pretty expensive and just some of the operations of our buildings”. The debt is fairly flat, he says, going up under 3%. Revenues are fairly flat but Local Government Aid, LGA, will increase. The process of budgeting takes about 6 months. Each department puts together their own budget and presents to Council. Finance Director Brenda Angelstad said, “one of the biggest benefits in the budget process is the planning, getting people to reflect on what has happened, what are the trends, where are we going, what can we change, are there efficiencies?” Angelstad puts together the big picture to inform Council on setting the tax levy. There will be more budget talk at Council’s Aug. 22nd meeting. There will be another work session and then they’ll set the preliminary levy on Sept. 19th. At that point, they can lower the levy but not increase it. The final levy is set in December. The City is about 45% of your total tax bill, then the School district and the County.
Bridgewater focuses on student behavior and parental engagement
The Northfield School board heard from Bridgewater Elementary about their school improvement plans. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann commented on what Bridgewater is focusing on the core of relationships and the climate of the building for student learning. Indicators include student behavior and engaging parents. Their goal is to have more than 92% of parents at parent/teacher conferences. Bridgewater also has intentional goals for each grade level. These aren’t just “easy to meet” goals but they’re “stretch goals”. The idea is to stretch for a loftier goal, if they don’t get there, they will still have learned a lot. They’ve embraced the STEAM or Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics movement. Integrating “maker spaces”, which are areas where students can apply the learning that they’ve had in mathematics, problem solving, “real world” kinds of things, says Hillmann, adding, “kids get a chance to see how the problem solving they learn in the classroom can play out”. The students also make connections with the academic curriculum when they’re working hands on. Hillmann says that while they know these strategies help train kids for their working life, they aren’t easily measured in a test.
DWI enforcment wave starts tomorrow
DWI enforcement starts tomorrow through September 3rd. Officers, deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies will be working overtime with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the extra enforcement and education effort. That includes Northfield, Dundas, Faribault, all the surrounding communities and Rice County. For more information about the statistics and what happens if you get a DWI, go to kymnradio.net. dwi-pre-release-partner Aug. 2017 1.docx